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There are 24 hours in a day, but how much time do you spend in the kitchen preparing meals? Daily commitments such as work, taking care of kids, studies, and taking care of yourself don’t leave you much time for preparing meals every night. Saving time in the kitchen needs to be a priority for the person who is determined to fit in making healthy homemade meals with a busy schedule.
Plan out meals with calendars or menu planners.
The worst (and slowest) start to making a meal is by standing in front of an open pantry wondering what to make. By using a calendar, you can jot down what each person in the family likes, and even set aside some days for meals outside of the kitchen. Preparing meals for one might be easier or harder to plan in advance, depending on the ingredients you have; follow whatever works best for you when cooking for one but don’t skimp on healthy choices!
- Read How to cook just for yourself, How to plan dinner menus for the family and How to plan a meal using only what’s in your pantry for more ideas.
Use the internet.
In those situations where you do open the pantry door and wonder what to cook, choose several ingredients and type them into your search engine of choice along with the word “recipe”. Exact matches incorporating those ingredients will return, enabling you to quickly choose a recipe that you like and can get on with preparing. Doing this is a lot faster than both wondering what to do or hunting for recipes in cookbooks while hungry!
Take out supplies beforehand.
Before you go to bed or leave the house in the morning, place any pots, pans, measuring utensils, different bowl sizes, spice containers, and appliances that are tucked away on the countertops. When you’re ready to start, everything is all set for you and this not only cuts the preparation time but provides you with the motivation to start preparing the meal.
- Setting the table in advance is also an advantage. Ask older kids to help you set up a placement for each person. In fact, it’s never too early to teach kids how to set the table, so encourage them to do so from a young age.
Cut vegetables in batches and store in the refrigerator in containers.
Whether you’re having tacos, stir fry, casseroles, or salads, using Tupperware or similar containers to store pre-cut ingredients will save on preparation time. With the ingredients already prepared, this can also be a motivation to eat healthier for breakfast and lunch, such as quick fix salads or vegetable omelets.
- Do tedious, non-cutting preparations elsewhere. When you’re in front of the computer or watching television, you can easily snap beans at the same time.
Make seasonings in advance.
If you have a favorite recipe that uses spice mixes and seasonings, measure out the ingredients in separate snack or sandwich plastic bags. Secure them tightly and stash them away for future uses.
[[Image:Photo 431 Crockpot.jpg|center]Save time with slow cooker recipes.
Thick meats, such as pot roasts, are excellent for beef stew. Add vegetable chunks, such as onions, carrots, and potatoes with the sauce or cooking wine of your choice. Leave it up to the slow cooker to do the rest for at least 8 hours.
- Read How to use a slow cooker for more details.
Prepare meals in batches and freeze them .
Recipes such as lasagna, pies and casseroles can be prepared in advanced and divided. Cook one portion for that night and freeze the rest for future meals.
- Read How to do once a month cooking and How to start or create a freezer group for more ideas.
Clean as you go .
Even before preparing anything, start filling up the sink with a mixture of dish soap and hot water. Wash cutting boards in between cutting vegetables, meat, and fish and place them upright to dry. Wash any bowls, knives, and measuring utensils that won’t be used again and leave them to air dry. While the meal is being cooked, utilize this time to continue any cleaning or putting away dishes in the dishwasher. By following the clean-as-you-go method, at the end of the meal the only things you need to worry about are the dishes on the table!
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What’s the first step to take once you decide to start eating better?
The simplest answer, for omnivores and vegetarians alike, is this: Start cooking. I believe it was Michael Pollan who summed it up best when he pointed out that nobody reaches for a bottle of high-fructose corn syrup when they’re in their own kitchen.
Whether plant-based or omnivorous, your diet will improve the day you start cooking, because it forces you to become aware of every ingredient you put into your food and your body. And if you’re vegetarian, vegan, or nearly so, you know that cooking your own food isn’t an option — it’s a must.
But cooking, and cooking healthy, takes time. And planning. And even some practice.
That’s not such a bad thing if cooking is your particular brand of unwinding or meditation. And that’s certainly not uncommon; cooking a special, all-day meal on a Sunday is as therapeutic an activity as any I know.
But what if that’s not you? What if you’d rather be running, climbing, or ripping out your own armpit hair than stuck in a kitchen for any longer than it takes to pour a bowl of cereal?
Then you’re in the right place. Here’s a list of 33 ways you can speed up your cooking and avoid the kitchen mistakes that don’t just cost you time, but cost you friends. (Okay, maybe it’s not that bad, but come on — you don’t want people to think vegetarian food sucks just ’cause yours does, do you?)
33 Cooking Time-Savers and Tips
- Chop vegetables quickly and evenly by first cutting thin strips, then lining up the strips and making uniform crosswise cuts from them. Think carrots and celery, where most people do the complete opposite by making crosswise cuts first.
- Meticulous measurement is one of the biggest time-killers in the kitchen — unless you’re baking, stop measuring! Those round numbers are just estimates anyway, and you’ll learn a lot about flavors and gain some confidence by making a few mistakes.
- Instead of measuring, learn just once what a teaspoon of spice looks like in your hand, or how many cranks of your pepper grinder it takes to grind a teaspoon. (And I probably don’t need to tell you this, but 3 teaspoons make a tablespoon.)
- A tablespoon of oil is one drizzle around the pan.
- Two tablespoons of nut butter, coconut oil, or anything semi-solid is about the size of a ping-pong ball.
- Scan recipes ahead of time to see if you can prep some ingredients while others are cooking.
- Putting a lid on your pots and pans will lessen cooking and boiling times. The downsides: You can’t reduce sauces this way, and it’s easy to forget to stir what you’re cooking and burn it.
- Use your sharpening steel! Here’s how.
- Minced is smaller than chopped is smaller than diced.
- Get an oil drizzler so you don’t have to keep going to the cabinet and taking the lid off of a bottle.
- For the same reason, get a pinch bowl for your salt.
- Lightly salt at each step of a recipe instead of once at the end. But keep in mind that salt causes food to release its moisture, so if you’re trying to sear something, wait until after it’s done, to avoid boiling or steaming it.
- To better sear tofu, remove some of the moisture before cooking by slicing it into thin layers, wrapping each layer in paper towels, and resting a pan on top of it for several minutes.
- Instead of peeling garlic cloves, pop them out of their skins by resting the blade of a knife (or your palm) on them and hitting it with your other hand.
- Garlic burns easily, so as soon as it’s fragrant, add more ingredients or liquid to the pan.
- Use a garbage bowl to avoid multiple trips to the trash can.
- Soaking rice or lentils a few hours in advance will dramatically reduce their cooking times.
- Don’t add salt to pasta water until after it’s boiling, because salt water takes longer to boil than fresh water.
- Italians salt their pasta water until it tastes like seawater. You should too.
- Don’t put oil in the pasta water. It will prevent the sauce from sticking to the pasta.
- A lemon squeezer is one kitchen uni-tasker I like. If you don’t have one, you can use a fork to get more juice out of a citrus fruit. Rolling it around first or even microwaving it for 10 seconds can also help.
- When a recipe calls for the zest of a lemon, lime, or orange, take only the oily, colorful stuff — none of the bitter, white pith.
- To get the most flavor from fresh ginger, use a spoon to peel it. This will remove only the skin and leave the flavorful surface of the ginger behind.
- Dried herbs are much faster and often cheaper to use than fresh. Use one-third the amount of dried herbs as you would fresh.
- If you prefer fresh herbs, save money by growing your own.
- You can eat the stems of fresh herbs if they’re soft, like parsley and cilantro. Don’t eat woody stems like those of rosemary.
- Buy pre-cubed tofu instead of blocks.
- Nuts are very easy to burn when you’re trying to toast them. To help avoid this, toast nuts in a pan over low-to-medium heat instead of in a toaster oven, so that they toast consistently and you don’t forget about them.
- Make large batches of grains, beans, and tomato sauce ahead of time and freeze in individual portions, so that you can pull one out when you’re in a pinch.
- You can remove most of the heat from a hot pepper by scraping out the seeds and white ribs. Just make sure you wash your hands when you’re done.
- When doubling a recipe, you shouldn’t double the spicy ingredients — that would exponentially increase the spiciness.
- Different oils have different heat stabilities and smoke at different temperatures, making them suited to different purposes. I like olive oil for low-temperature cooking and grapeseed or coconut oil for higher temperatures. See more smoke points here.
- Never heat flaxseed oil, or the universe will end.
What’s your best time-saving (or epic-disaster-preventing) kitchen tip?
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15 Ways to Save Time in the Kitchen
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15 Ways to Save Time in the Kitchen
I’ve written before about the time it can take to cook and why I think it’s really important to make time for it, but at the end of the day, there are only so many hours in the darn day. In fact, I probably get the most emails and have the most discussions about time. These days, people just have a hard time finding the time to cook everyday.
So I thought I would brainstorm a few ways that everyone can save a few minutes (or in some cases a few hours) in the kitchen. Hopefully they are helpful!
1) Use leftovers in today’s dinner. Leftovers can sometimes be better if you use them in a new dish rather than just nuke them in the microwave. Try to think about a few ways to make a quick new meal out of leftovers instead of heating up an old meal. Leftover rice can go in a fried rice or stir fry. Leftover pasta can be baked with some cheese on top to make a great dinner.
2) Weekly or even monthly calendars are necessary. Planning just a bit allows you to do the first tip even better. I’m not the best at keeping paper schedulers so I do all my planning in a google calendar.
3) Chop for the days ahead. If you know you are cooking three meals throughout the week with onion, just chop enough onion for all of the dishes and save the extra chopped stuff in the fridge. It’ll be just fine a few days later. For most veggies, you won’t know the difference.
4) Double it. Or Triple it. Should go without saying but for some dishes it’s just as easy to make twice as much. So that makes for easy meals for the next few days!
5) Small cooks fast. Some meals it’s important to have large veggie chunks, but for a lot of meals you can cut your time down on the cooking just by cutting your meat or vegetables into smaller pieces.
6) Learn to love soup. It might sound counter-intuitive because soups can take a long time to actually make, but the great thing about soups are that you can make a huge amount, freeze it, and it thaws easily. Add a grilled cheese or quick salad and pre-made soup can make for really simple and fast meals.
7) You gotta get organized! I’ll be the first to admit that I’m not the best at organizing my pantry and fridge. I’ll also be the first to admit that it costs me time because I’m pretty much always searching for something that I know I have. I’ve seen some people even go so far as to alphabetically organize spices, but I’m not sure I’ll ever get there. Some basic organization though can pay good dividends.
8) Categorize by cooking time. This is an idea I’ve been playing with, but have yet to actually test. Instead of organizing your recipe cards alphabetically, I thought you could organize them by total cooking time. Then if you need a 30 minute meal or a 15 minute meal, you have a group to pick from! It might be a good idea to copy your cards for this because it might be helpful to have an alphabetical list sometimes also.
9) Get a crockpot. Love it. Ok. This is another rule I don’t follow. For some reason I don’t have a crockpot. It’s on my list though don’t you worry. There are so many meals that you can make while you are doing other things and the crockpot does all the work. Then you have a great, warm dinner waiting for you!
10) Frozen is fine. Fresh is always best, but for most dishes frozen veggies work very nicely and can save you a lot of time. Some veggies that freeze very well are peas, corn, spinach (for dips and stuff especially), broccoli, cauliflower, and edamame (soy beans).
11) Keep a few flavor burst ingredients handy. There are a few ingredients that are really easy to add to standard dishes like pasta that make them taste like an entirely different dish. Thinks like sun-dried tomatoes, olives, capers, real Parmesan cheese, and roasted red peppers can save serious time and add big flavor to recipes.
12) Get some helpers. Nothing like getting your spouse or kids in the kitchen to help out. They’ll be learning something and you’ll have a spare set of hands.
13) Try some food hacks. Here’s a fun little list of 10 Food Hacks that might save you some time. Some are ridiculous but some are helpful.
14) Learn to do it right! A lot of time is wasted preparing things incorrectly. Spend a few minutes to learn the best way to chop a veggie and you’ll save yourself lots of time. For starters, here’s a good knife technique video (under two minutes), and I’ve started to post occasional write-ups on ingredients and the best way to prepare them (Mango, avocado, and onion for example).
15) Pick the right dish! Should go without saying but have a good list of go-to quick meals. For a good starting point, check out Mr. Bittman’s 101 10 minute meals. (Have to be registered with NY Times to view. It’s free though.)
Here’s a few of my favorite quick or many-use dishes to get you started!
5 Under 30 minute meals:
5 Meals that Pay Dividends:
(Dishes that might take a bit longer to make, but will save you time in the future because they can be eaten for many meals.)
1) Peanut Butter Granola Bars
2) One Pound Burritos
3) Texas Caviar
Who doesn’t enjoy a good meal? Well, we all do, don’t we? However, preparing them might be a difficult chore, leading us to settle on the same easy meals all of the time. However, to help you in the kitchen so that you can enjoy delicious cuisine, we have created a list of simple tips and tactics that will allow you to spend less time in the kitchen and more time enjoying and eating delicious food. Take a look at these secret kitchen hacks that will make your time in the kitchen more fun and save you a lot of time too.
1. Separating Insects From Atta/ Wheat Flour
It is one of the most irritating things to see insects in Atta. It can take a lot of time to separate them by usual methods. However, it may look difficult, it doesn’t have to be. If you want to avoid such a situation, simply take 2 bay leaves. Put them with the flour, cover it with the lid and store it however. This way the insects will stay away from your stored Atta.
2. Garlic Hack
Garlic can liven up even the most bland recipes. Peeling garlic cloves, on the other hand, can be a time-consuming process. To make it simpler, place the whole garlic cloves on the counter and smash the head at the base to separate them. Press the cloves with the flat part of a knife on a chopping board. That’s it. Now you will see the peel will come off.
3. Crystal Ice Cubes
Have you ever wondered how clear ice cubes are served with your favourite beverages in restaurants and cafes?
You’ve probably tried and failed countless times at home to get those crystal-like cubes in your glass for a refreshing glass of drink. However, we will tell you the secret today. The trick is to boil the water first before freezing it.
Ice cubes made using boiled water will have the same crystal clarity as those served in fancy and lavish restaurants.
4. To Stop Pots From Over Boiling
When we boil rice, milk or noodles, the water often overflows. Placing a wooden spoon across the top of the pot is one effecting way of avoiding this. The wooden spoon could also be the turning stick; as wood is a poor conductor of heat, it prevents spillage.
5. To Keep Green Vegetable Fresh
Do you want to keep your green veggies fresh for longer? Here is what can help:
Green vegetables should be kept in plastic bags filled with air in the refrigerator to keep them fresh for longer. Your vegetables will stay fresh for a long time if you follow this trick.
6. Onion Cutting Hack
It is common to have watery eyes while chopping onions.To avoid that, refrigerate your onions for about 15 minutes before cutting them.
When an onion is cold, less propanethial S-oxide evaporates into the air. This slows the reaction even more and affects the chemistry of the enzymes in the onion.
However, keep in mind that the onions should be refrigerated rather than frozen. As if thawed, frozen onions might become mushy and won’t give you the results you were looking for.
7. Cleaning Ghee, Oil Utensil
It’s tough to clean a vessel that has been used with ghee, oil, or honey, but not impossible. You just need to spray these utensils with cooking spray before using them to make the after job of cleaning easier. With this method, cleaning the kitchenware will be a breeze.
8. Lemon Juice
Lemon juice is one of the most commonly used household ingredients. If you want to extract all of the juice from a lemon by pressing it hard, chill it for half an hour in a fridge before microwaving it for 20 seconds. After that, squeezing it will simply release all of the lemon juice.
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I hope you enjoyed reading this article. If you did, tell us about your favourite hack from the list above. If you know of any more tricks, please share them with us as well. You can share them on our Facebook or Instagram pages as comments. Stay tuned to HerZindagi for more stories like these!
Looking for that miracle appliance or kitchen hack that will transform the way you cook? You’re in luck! We’ve tried and tested every kitchen tool imaginable, and narrowed down our list of the best kitchen utensils no home chef should be without.
Our criteria? They must be multi-functional, they should inspire you to cook more (and enjoy it), and they should save you time and money.
How to find the best kitchen utensils
We all have kitchen utensils we regret buying. That appliance that turned out to be a one-trick pony that’s now gathering dust somewhere in the back of the cupboard. The must-have gadget we never even took out of the packaging.
Here’s our list of the best kitchen tools you’ll actually use – and love.
The ultimate set-and-forget appliance, a slow cooker keeps your food bubbling away at a steady heat for hours, producing tender, delicious meals with minimal effort. You simply can’t go past it for melt-in-your-mouth meats, or flavoursome soups and stews.
And don’t make the mistake of thinking slow cookers are just for casseroles and curries. Did you know you can make all kinds of wonderful creations, both sweet and savoury, in your slow cooker? From a roast chook to crunchy homemade muesli bars, the possibilities are endless. You can even use it for creamy porridge and rice pudding.
These days, air fryers have developed a cult following, and it’s not hard to see why. A machine that cooks crispy “fried” food that’s just as tasty as takeaway, with the teeniest hint of oil – what’s not to love?! They also use less power than a conventional oven, cook your food faster, and you can take them with you on holidays. They really are a fantastic addition to any kitchen.
Kitchen hack: Look for an air fryer with enough capacity for your family, so you won’t be standing around cooking several batches of hot chips on “fakeaway” nights.
British food guru Delia Smith, the queen of making cooking fast and fun, famously said “cheats don’t chop”, and we think that’s a pretty solid stance to take in our busy modern world. With electric and manual options available, there’s really no need to be a slave to the chopping board. These machines can whip up a fresh salsa in seconds, or slice onions en masse for your next BBQ. They’re also compact and easy to use, and often have dishwasher-safe components, making clean up a breeze.
While they may be simple, these bendy little utensils can get into every nook and cranny, thanks to their flexible silicone construction. They’re the best for getting the last drops of cake mix out of a bowl, or rescuing the pesto that’s stuck on the blades of your food processor. They’ll save you time spent cleaning, and money too. Trust us, you’ll be amazed at how something so simple will totally change your life!
Kitchen hack: Grab a couple of silicone spatulas in different colours, so you can use a different one for sweet and savoury dishes.
It chops! It whips! It cooks! Forget standing by the stove stirring risotto for hours on end, or throwing out another lumpy bechamel sauce. There’s something that can take care of all of that for you – and no, we don’t mean hiring yourself a sous chef.
You can do pretty much anything with a multi-cooker machine – make homemade jams and stocks, grind nuts and seeds for healthy baking, and even make your own yoghurt and ricotta cheese. It can also replace a number of other utensils and appliances, making it especially great if you have a small kitchen, or if you’re going for a minimalist approach. Some versions even have built-in kitchen scales – so you won’t need to make room for another in your cupboards.
You might think your living room is where you’re always sitting around, but you probably spend more time in the kitchen, where you’re not only cooking but also socializing and hanging out with your family and friends.
But sometimes it might get boring to return to the same old room, so you think about renovating it. Well, starting this journey on your own would be a good idea. It’s not as difficult as it seems, so if you’ve decided you’re ready to make the change, here are five easy steps to give your kitchen a fresh start.
1. Deep clean
What’s the best thing to do when changing your whole kitchen than a deep-cleaning session? Well, you know that in this room, mold and dirt can form almost anywhere, and if you’re not taking care of this issue in the early stage, you might experience some health issues. This step is important, especially if you’re always feeling weird odors in the room, even if you’re cleaning the kitchen every day.
You could start by cleaning the walls, ceiling fan and countertops. Don’t forget about the garbage can, deep clean the microwave and stove, as well as take the steps needed to prevent moisture and dampness in your pantry. Finally, sweep and mop the floors with more concentrated cleaning solutions.
2. Get new cabinets
You might think that cabinets don’t need changes, but you’d be surprised to find out how much of a difference can make a cabinet that fits the room’s aesthetic. Whether you can replace the cabinets entirely, only the doors or just repaint everything, you can get the desired result if you’re making calculated choices.
Depending on your initial redecorating plan, you can decide if it’s better to get some cheap kitchen units and save some money or ask for an architect’s opinion about what you want to do. But rest assured, you can make the most out of cheaper options if you follow a pattern and are consistent with accessories and colors.
Therefore, what you should do is choose your units according to the way your kitchen should be.
According to kitchenwarehouseltd.com, handle less high gloss units with white or grey tones should be perfect if you want a modern look. On the other hand, if you’re looking for a traditional design, choose solid wood units in darker shades. We know it might be hard to decide which one is better, but try to imagine yourself in that new kitchen: what’s the first thing you can say when entering the room? Will it be cozy or modern?
3. Change the backsplash
A kitchen backlash is a huge improvement, as it saves you time to clean, and you won’t have to worry about the walls becoming dirty. Although it’s the most underrated thing in the kitchen, you won’t lose anything if you add some changes to it.
First, it’s all about the color. Create contrast between the cabinets and backlash, and you’ll be surprised at how good it looks. You can try the classic combination of white cabinets and blue tiles, but it’s no harm if you try bolder colors, like red, green or yellow. Then, you can be even more creative and add different tile textures, like natural stone designs with a matte, satin look.
Finally, don’t be afraid and experiment with tiles you’ve considered too bold and pretentious for your kitchen, for example:
- Mirrored tiles (they’re great for smaller kitchens, as it gives the feeling of light and space)
- Different geometric shapes (hexagon, chevron)
To add the final touch, consider installing LEDs under the cabinets, so you’ll have even more light in the kitchen. Depending on the color chosen for your kitchen, if you want to make it cozier and more comfortable, install warmer lights, and for a modern feeling, cooler LEDs should do the job.
4. Kitchen wall ideas
For a major change in your kitchen, consider repainting the walls or remodeling them to offer a bright new look. As for the paint, choose something that goes along with your personality, but also take into consideration functionality. If you want to ensure easy-to-clean walls, choose white, which will also light up the room and make it look spacious. But if you want to give off the vibes on Dita Von Teese and choose maximalism, go for bold colors (red, violet, emerald green).
Another option for your walls is to stick wallpapers to your walls (or even a feature wall). It’s cost-effective, and you have plenty of designs to choose from that will match the rest of the kitchen. Additionally, if you think the walls would still be empty, try looking for statement wall art to add bold accent colors in the kitchen. You can have one wall you could use for these experiments and then extend to the rest of the room to see how that works out.
Ultimately, use the free space and your walls to help organize your kitchen. You could fill your wall with open shelving or add wood paneling over the sink.
5. Add decorations
Here comes the fun part, the accessories! The good thing here is that you can’t make any mistakes that you can’t correct because you can put them down anytime if you change your mind. As we discussed previously, it’s better to experiment and find out what you would like to add to your kitchen because there are so many decorations to add that it’s difficult to choose only a few.
So, starting with the walls. If you still have some space to spare, you can mount plates to display, but not any plates. If you want to find interesting pieces, you could go thrifting to search for old, big plates with interesting drawings. Other suggestions include:
- Changing the curtains
- Having potted plants
- Add rugs with beautiful patterns
- Include more light fixtures
In conclusion, you could change your kitchen if you get a little bit creative. You don’t need to spend a lot of money, as there are always cheaper solutions to almost anything to get the desired result.
If you are new to cooking and looking for ways to save your time in kitchen, check out these easy hacks!
If you have been cooking for a while now, you know your way around the kitchen and how to wrap up the work quickly. However, if you are new to the entire cooking process, you might still struggle with what to do and how to do it? With several ingredients lined up in front of us and with a whole recipe to prepare for, the working of the kitchen can tire us at times. So, to make your work easy in the kitchen, here we bring you some hacks that will not only make your life easy but will also help you finish your work quickly. These hacks are super simple to follow and will save your time in the kitchen; find them below:
Here Are 7 Tips That Will Save Your Time In Kitchen:
1. Peel Garlic In An Instant
This one is a highly recommended tip! Peeling garlic might be a time-consuming task, but it doesn’t have to be. Place a head of garlic in a jar with a cover and shake vigorously for 15 seconds. The garlic bulbs almost peel themselves, and you can easily remove their skin.
2. Remove The Egg Shells From Yolk
When breaking an egg, tiny shell particles may fall into the yolk. So, using half of your already cracked egg shell, scoop out bits of broken egg shell. The shell functions like a magnet, attracting shell fragments without wasting too much egg.
3. Grate The Butter
We make use of butter in many things. However, that hard stick often takes time to melt. So, simply grate the butter before cooking. This way, you will have small pieces of it that will melt quickly and be easier to spread.
4. Shred The Chicken
Shredding chicken for any dish can be time-consuming if done with a fork. This quick hack will save you a lot of time: Put the chicken in a bowl and shred it with a hand mixer in seconds. Just make sure that the hand mixer is on the lowest setting.
5. Microwave Lemon For Extra Juice
When squeezing citrusy fruits, we often struggle to make their juice come out. But not anymore! Microwave lemons, limes, or oranges for 15 seconds before squeezing. The fruit will produce twice the amount of juice.
6. Zip Lock Ginger And Garlic
Ginger and garlic are two things that go in almost all dishes. Cutting and grating them before cooking can take up a lot of your time. So, you can keep its paste in a zip lock and use it whenever you want to.
7. Ice It
Ice trays are not only used for water. Instead, you can even freeze many kinds of homemade sauces, herbs and whatnot! This way, you won’t have to make everything from scratch, and you can just defrost before use!
Try out these hacks and let us know which one worked the best for you!
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When I first learned how to easily chop onions about 10 years ago, it was a game changer.
It saved plenty of onion tears, and heaps of time too. My only regret was that I didn’t find out earlier.
With that in mind, we asked restaurant owner and chef Thi Le to share some of her best tips for working with a knife.
She gave us some great techniques that will come in handy whether you’re an occasional home cook or seasoned pro.
Two tried-and-tested methods for onions
When it comes to practising your knife skills, the humble onion is an excellent training tool.
Here are two techniques for dicing onions, starting with Thi’s.
#1: The root removal method
To start with, you want a sharp knife. Hold it firmly, but not too tight as to restrict movement.
“[You want] a nice grip with a bit of flex, so you can adjust as you’re going,” she says.
Thi starts by cutting the onion in half, then removing the root, to avoid parts of the onion sticking together.
Then she slices the onion finely, from bottom to top. Once that’s done, she collects the slices, and pushes them down into her chopping board.
Then she simply cuts through the onion again, leaving a nice, fine dice.
“When I teach my chefs inside the kitchen, I always say to them, ‘Go slow and then you can always pick up the pace,'” she adds.
#2: The ‘leave the root in’ method
Daman Shrivistav is a former chef who now lectures in the commercial cookery course at Box Hill Institute.
He suggests another way to cut an onion — which was the same one I was taught when I was younger.
Unlike Thi’s method, this time you want to keep the onion root intact.
Start by cutting the onion in half, then remove the top of the onion.
Next, cut vertically through the onion towards the root, but not all the way, Daman explains.
Once you’ve done that, you can turn the onion around. And because the root is intact, it should stick together.
Then you make two or three horizontal cuts through the onion. Again, be careful not to cut through the root.
Once that’s all done, you can slice through the onion, leaving you with a nice dice.
If you need to make it any finer afterwards, you can cut the onion again on your board, Daman says.
The garlic bash
One of my least favourite activities in the kitchen is peeling garlic.
One simple way to speed up the process is to bash the garlic clove on your chopping board with the flat side of your knife.
“The skin will just come apart quite quickly,” Thi says.
“Then you can just run your knife through [the garlic].”
If you want your garlic really fine, as you might when making hummus or garlic bread, Thi suggests scraping the flat side of the knife over the chopped pieces.
The secret to cutting herbs
Herbs are delicate, so the trick is to avoid bruising them, Thi says.
Again, it helps to have a sharp knife. The other tip is to always use dry herbs.
“Your herbs should be nice and crisp,” Thi says.
Don’t run your knife back and forth over herbs. Instead, aim for as few cuts as possible to keep the herbs intact.
The drawback method for vegetables
When stir-frying, it helps to have vegetables cut the same size so they cook uniformly.
One way to do this, Thi explains, is by using what she calls the “drawback method”.
“I cut my first piece and that becomes my guide,” she says.
“Then, you’re just pulling back and twisting your vegetable.
“The reason why I use this method here in particular is because I’m using a wok, I’m stir-frying.”
Tips for good cutting and slicing
- To get your knives sharp, use a sharpening stone, Daman says. A steel — the long cylindrical piece of metal you see in knife blocks — can help maintain sharpness once you’ve used a stone.
- When using a knife, it’s important that your body is well balanced, Thi says. Your back should be straight, with your knees unlocked.
- To avoid cutting your fingers, fold them into a claw. Then hold whatever you’re cutting so the knife can’t hit your fingernails. “That’s a safe way of chopping food,” Daman says.
- As Thi says, you can always build up the pace later once you’ve got the basics right.
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Friday, April 1, 2022
Time management for kitchen
Step by step instructions to Efficiently Manage Time In Kitchen
For ages, our precursors have been preparing home-prepared food consistently. In greater urban communities with longer travel times to work and schools, constantly that is accessible nearby should be overseen as productively as could be expected. Regardless of whether you are honored with more limited travel time during mornings, an effective using time productively in the kitchen gives you an adequate chance to prepare and do other family errands without pressure.
Using time effectively in the kitchen needs a little practice, without a doubt. In any case, when you intentionally develop stunts to save time, you will be venerated since you can invest more energy for the family or be inventive as opposed to being in the kitchen for a really long time. Here are straightforward tips that exactly reply, how to proficiently oversee time in the kitchen.
1. Hold It Back Every time
Arranging the kitchen so that you precisely realize what is the place where might save you a ton of time. Take as much time as is needed during the end of the week to sort every one of the valued assets of your kitchen. Adhering to this straightforward guideline keeps a wreck-free and efficient kitchen.
2. Keep The Frequent Needs Closer
Keep much of the time utilized Kitchen gear like dish, cooker, spatula, and fixings that are utilized regularly, in an arm’s distance. It decreases arriving at the time and subsequently the superfluous time is straightforwardly cut.
3. Prepare For Time
Make a dinner arrangement for seven days ahead of time. This assists you with getting sorted out your fixings expected for the ordinary feast. Likewise, arranging further develops effectiveness by working on mental readiness. A certain piece of cooking can be made somewhat early and frozen for the following day’s cooking/breakfast.
4. Preparing food following shopping
The stalks if necessary are cleaved off from radish, beetroot, or other root vegetables, do it before you stock the veggies. Yet in addition dealing with specific pieces of greens, similar to pineapple ought not to be isolated from their crown days before utilization, since it ruins the natural product. It is a similar case with new green verdant vegetables moreover.
5. Improve on Cooking Process
6. Oversee Time Within Cooking
See what you can crush in the middle of the inactive season of cooking. Be it pressure cooking, marinating, or baking, attempt to incorporate different errands of the formula or kitchen by performing various tasks. This performing various tasks in Kitchen comes just with training. Wilful practice for a couple of days will favor you with the craft of overseeing time effectively inside cooking, by performing multiple tasks.
7. One Hour A Week To Stock Up
Burn through one to two hours in seven days to load up your cooler well. Be it frozen Tomato Puree Cubes, bubbled Tamarind Extract, Chutney Podi, Chunda/Chutney, Instant Pickles, or Spice Powders. These loaded-up trifling fixings, sauces, zest powders, and backups can come conveniently during the entire week. Backups that stay for seven days, similar to Pasta sauce, Dry Fruit Ghughra/Gujiya, Indo-Chinese Spicy Schezuan Sauce, Walnut Burfi, or biscotti can be ready and supplied.
View the Simple Cooking Techniques that can be made quite a bit early and utilized in different plans essentially for seven days, when saved in hermetically sealed compartments or cooler. Pick the dearest plans that can be convenient relying upon the formula plan that you need to adhere to.
“Fresh is best.” That’s the mantra we’re taught, but have you ever put a perfectly ripe mango in your fridge only to find it looking shriveled days later?
Yet, if you’d chopped and frozen that mango, you could eat it in its perfect state at any time — and that’s just one benefit of frozen foods. They also last longer and cost less.
Young woman doing grocery shopping in supermarket. michaeljung / Shutterstock / michaeljung
Best of all, your grocer’s frozen food section is bursting with fruits and vegetables, as well as trendier health foods like quinoa and chia, and organic, gluten-free, and international meals.
Here are six reasons to choose frozen foods over fresh.
1. Are frozen fruits and veggies as healthy as the fresh kind?
According to the FDA, frozen produce packs the same nutrients. Often, they’re superior in nutritional value and flavor since crops are harvested at the height of freshness and frozen quickly to seal in nutrients and taste.
In comparison, “fresh” fruits and vegetables are harvested before they reach peak nutritional value and then ripen “off the vine.” They often travel long distances, exposing them to light and heat, which diminishes their nutrient value. Once they reach the store, they may spend a while in the produce aisle, before finding their way to your fridge.
Frozen foods do better in other ways, too. A 2013 University of Georgia study compared day-of-purchase fresh and frozen varieties of produce and found that nutritionally, they were similar, but after five days in a kitchen refrigerator, fresh produce lost vitamin content, particularly vitamins A and C and folate.
Other studies showed frozen produce had higher levels of vitamin C, total antioxidant polyphenols, lutein, beta-carotene and anthocyanins (antioxidant compounds found in foods such as berries) than fresh produce after refrigerated storage.
Frozen foods in a supermarket. Jonathan Feinstein / Shutterstock / Jonathan Feinstei
2. How are frozen fruits and vegetables processed?
Frozen fruits and vegetables are processed when they’re ripe — which is a huge benefit. They’re often blanched, or dipped into boiling water very briefly before freezing. “Flash freezing” refers to foods that have been frozen very quickly and often vacuum-sealed for airtightness.
3. How do you choose the right frozen produce?
Follow the same rules as with fresh: pick as many different colors as possible to make sure you’re getting an array of nutrients. Be sure to check a package’s Nutrition Facts Panel and ingredient lists for unsuspecting ingredients like sugars, sodium, and calories. Frozen fruits can be packed with unnecessary added sugars and syrups, and frozen veggies can include sauces and flavor packets high in sodium, fat, and calories.
One big difference between frozen and fresh produce is in the texture. If you need to hear a crunch when you bite into your broccoli, fresh is best for you. But, if you’re making a smoothie that calls for raspberries in the dead of winter — and texture isn’t so crucial — go frozen.
4. What’s on the label?
“Fresh frozen,” “frozen fresh,” and “freshly frozen” are terms for foods that are quickly frozen while fresh. Blanching is allowed. The tern “quickly frozen” is used to indicate freezing via a system such as blast-freezing.
Choose packages marked with a USDA “U.S. Fancy” shield, which designates produce of the best size, shape and color; vegetables of this standard also tend to be more nutrient-rich than the lower grades “U.S. No. 1” or “U.S. No. 2.”
You can verify where an imported frozen food package comes from by checking its country of origin (or COOL) label, required by the U.S. Customs Service. The label is supposed to be in a conspicuous spot on the front of the package, that’s not always the case. On some products, this info is missing altogether or difficult to read.
Also, pay attention to a frozen entry or meal’s serving size listed on the Nutrition Facts Panel. You may be shocked to find that small frozen lasagna you’re microwaving for dinner allegedly contains “4 servings.”
5. How do frozen foods check out at the register?
Frozen produce is usually less expensive. They’re also convenient to buy, store and prepare so you’ll save time as well as money.
6. How long can food stay in the freezer?
If you still have a piece of your wedding cake in the freezer and you just celebrated your tenth anniversary — it’s time to toss it! (Or at least, don’t eat it.)
Freezing perishable foods is a great way to preserve them, but they won’t stay fresh forever. Meats can remain in the freezer from 3 to 12 months, depending on the cut. Poultry (chicken and turkey) can last up to a year if whole, and 2 to 3 months if ground. Cheese and butter can be frozen for 6 months. (Warning: cottage and ricotta cheeses do not freeze well.)
Over many months, nutrients in frozen vegetables inevitably degrade. Eat them soon after purchase when possible.
The bottom line
Since one-third of us are not meeting our fruit and veggie needs —and missing out on essential nutrients — why not grab your sweater and stroll through the frozen food aisle? You’ll find an assortment of healthy produce, as well as tasty meals and side dishes. Best of all, a visit to this aisle saves you time and money.
- 17:13, 24 Jun 2022
- Updated : 19:50, 24 Jun 2022
THIS DIY savvy couple have turned their outdated ex-council flat’s kitchen into their dream space.
They did it all on a budget too, using second-hand bargains from charity shops, eBay and etsy.
Shen Outar, 26, and partner Nico Harvey, 28, have called their flat home since 2020 and always knew it would need a bit of work to update it.
The old kitchen looked a bit drab with laced curtains, kitchen cupboards right out of the 70s and a green floor.
Not wanting to break to bank on the renovation, the duo decided to take the time to hunt for the best bargains.
In the end, they ended spending £5k on the entire renovation, that comes after a company quote them £7k to refit their shelving and cupboards and nothing else.
Shen explained: “For £5K we managed to replace the sink, worktops, floor, tiles, appliances, shelving and lights.
From searching for alternatives rather than going with a company who would do it all for us, we managed to save around £10K in total.”
Shen’s love of second hand shops made the kitchen makeover a breeze, she found bargains there as well as places like eBay and etsy.
She confessed: “We installed all of the shelving ourselves and did all of the painting of the units and walls ourselves too.
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“Not having to pay a painter and decorator saved us a lot of money, as that would have cost over £1000.”
The couple also saved over £1000 by keeping the shell of all of the cupboards and deciding to give them a new lease of life instead.
“For the countertops, instead of getting marble which would have been way over budget, I found a laminate one online that was only £350,” She continued.
Shen adds: “We replaced all of the doors and cupboard doors, we took them out and replaced with MDF.
“We also have a pantry cupboard, so we installed shelving in it which matched the new worktops for glassware and cooking equipment. When replacing the door handles I found a local seller on Etsy for them which was a lot cheaper.”
After that, they also covered the boiler and changed the grim flooring for a modern laminate herringbone style.
“For the colours, we went for a lime wash paint to give it that old school painted look and to mix up modern and traditional styles.
“I think now you can see modern aspects coming through as the kitchen is navy, marble and gold.
“The brass sink was an amazing addition that I also found online, it was a little more expensive at £300, but because we had saved so much on the cupboards and shelving it worked out fine.
Posted by Guest Blogger on December 17, 2013
When it comes to home electricity use, the kitchen typically uses the most. This is due to a collection of heavily used appliances that drain energy. The good news is that it’s easy to start saving energy in the kitchen, and in many cases it won’t require more than changing your habits and possibly your light bulbs.
It is important to check your appliances and review what you’re using and how you’re using them. Appliances account for about 20 percent of the average household’s energy use and chances are high that if you haven’t purchased new appliances in the past ten years, you’re spending extra money to keep them running. If you’re considering buying a new appliance, look for products with the ENERGY STAR label. ENERGY STAR appliances outperform standard appliances due to advanced technology and design, which ultimately reduces energy use and saves you money.
If you’re not ready to replace your current kitchen appliances, here are a few other tips to minimize energy use in the kitchen:
- Unplug all appliances when they aren’t in use. Things like the toaster and coffee maker still use energy when plugged in, even if they aren’t being used.
- Keep your freezer and refrigerator doors closed as much as possible
- Keep your freezer full
- Clean your refrigerator’s coils at least once a year
- Air-dry your dishes or only use the dishwasher when it’s full.
- Avoid setting up your refrigerator next to the oven or boiler, as that cause it have to work harder to maintain cool temperatures inside.
- Use the “economy” setting on your dishwasher and only run it if you have a full load.
- Use a microwave oven as much as possible. It uses less energy than a conventional oven.
- Keep your oven’s metal burners clean.
- Make sure to match the pan size to the element you’re cooking on. A small pot on a large burner wastes energy.
While light bulbs are necessary for work in the kitchen, they are a big source of energy use. To help save, switch to energy-efficient bulbs like LEDs, which last longer and will immediately reduce your energy consumption.
For additional energy-saving tips, videos and resources visit WH’s energy conservation page.
It is a common misconception about Indian food it that it takes forever to cook. While Indian cooking does utilize mostly fresh ingredients and dishes are made from scratch (so you are avoiding over-processed, preservative-loaded ingredients), how long it takes usually depends on what you are cooking. Just like any other cuisine, there are some dishes that are quick and easy to cook and others that are elaborate and need more time.
There are some ingredients though, that are common in most Indian dishes though and preparing them ahead of time can further cut down on cooking time.
Chopped fine, sliced thin, or ground to a paste, onions form the base of gravies, a complement to veggies or an important ingredient in salads. Chop, slice, and grind them and freeze in labeled freezer bags. That way when a recipe calls for onions you have them quickly at hand.
Ginger and Garlic Pastes
Ginger and garlic are also vital ingredients in Indian cooking. A recipe may require them chopped fine or ground to a paste. Have a large glass bottle each of ginger and garlic pastes in the refrigerator. You can just as easily buy them from the grocery store (Asian or Indian groceries will definitely have them) but if you make yours at home, you can be sure they’re free from preservatives. Here’s a handy tip for keeping ginger and garlic pastes fresh for longer: store peeled garlic in a date-labeled box or Ziploc bag for when a recipe requires it to be chopped fine.
Again this is an ingredient you can quite easily buy, but it always seems to taste better when you make it at home. Make tomato pureé ahead of time and pour into ice-cube trays (use a tablespoon to measure how much fits in a single cube so that its easier to measure out as the recipe requires later) and freeze. When they are frozen, pop them out and store in date- and measurement-labeled freezer bags for when you need them.
Coriander and mint are used to make chutneys, added to gravies and as garnishes on dishes and salads. With Asian and Indian food being so popular these days, these herbs can even be found at your local grocery store. They’re not always in season though.
A majority of the time when onions are used in Indian cooking, the recipe calls for them to be browned. Make up a batch ahead of time and store in your fridge. Make both chopped and sliced browned onions. Here’s a quick tip for browning onions quickly.
Most gravied dishes have certain ingredients in common, so preparing and freezing one when you have some spare time is a great idea. You can use our recipe for a basic Indian gravy. When you’re ready to cook, use it as is or add any extra ingredients as required.
Breads like chapati, paratha, and poori are the perfect accompaniment to most Indian dishes. They’re also great by themselves or with your favorite spread or filling. Fill them (freshly made) with leftover cooked veggies or meats and make a roll! Here are more ideas on how to use leftovers to create a whole new meal.
Dough made from whole wheat flour will keep really well in the fridge for three to four days, so make it in advance. Here’s the recipe for the dough (chapati). You can also pre-cook and store chapati in the freezer so that they are almost cooked when you need them.
For more handy, time-saving hints for Indian cooking, see our additional tips.
Which holiday dessert is your favorite?
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With Christmas coming up next week and New Year’s right around the corner, now is the time to start planning your holiday meals.
Don’t assume you have to spend all day in the kitchen, making preparations.
H-E-B, for example, is one of the businesses offering holiday meals — through Jan. 1, 2021.
Main courses are similar to the traditional options you might prepare any other Christmas.
Through H-E-B, you can order a whole turkey, a turkey breast, smoked brisket and prime rib roast.
Craving some appetizers or good side dishes, as well? The sky is the limit.
H-E-B’s sides include turkey gravy, cranberry sauce, Aloha rolls, deviled eggs, green bean casserole, buttered corn, sweet potato casserole, cream corn, potato salad, macaroni and cheese, garden salad, coleslaw, brisket beans and traditional cornbread dressing.
Desserts include banana pudding, peach cobbler and pumpkin pie.
Holiday meals are available hot or cold with 72 hours advance notice, with pickup available 11 a.m. to 7 pm on non-holidays.
For a holiday side dish pairing, H-E-B recommends trying Josh Pinot Gris.
Get more H-E-B recipes and add ingredients to your H-E-B shopping list here. Click here to shop H-E-B’s 2020 kitchen catalog.
Food waste has always been an issue in kitchens of all sizes. It is, however, seen a lot more in commercial kitchens where there are high volumes of food. Commercial kitchens have many stations that focus on different types of food, which means different ways of preparing food and ultimately should minimize food waste. But that is not the case.
What Is Food Waste?
The first step in cutting down on how much food gets thrown away is to define food waste. It is food that can be used again or is sent to landfills. In the United States, about 30 to 40 percent of food is unnecessarily wasted. This food is thrown out because it looks weird, it was not eaten during a meal, or it was unused and began to rot.
This equates to about 20 pounds of wasted food per person per month, and about $1,000 that is wasted in a year per average four-person family. Commercial kitchens can do their part to minimize waste and create an environment that reduces the waste that ends up in landfills.
Commercial kitchens should pay attention to the type and amount of food that is coming into the kitchen. It is easy and makes sense to buy a lot of food at once and stock up so orders don’t have to be placed as frequently. While this may be convenient and initially thrifty, it is not the greatest way to reduce waste.
Food, especially produce and perishables, does not last as long as other non-perishable items, like canned goods. For example, buying a lot of apples may be cheaper and seem like the financially savvy option, but in reality, not all the apples are used, and a good portion of the order ends up going bad and ultimately being wasted.
Ask your vendor if you can receive the products in various stages of ripeness so you can take advantage of a sale or bulk ordering.
Additionally, inspect all orders as they arrive, and not just the food on top. If the food looks like it is spoiled or is close to spoiling, don’t accept the order.
Take Stock and Use FIFO
Pay attention to your orders and how food should be stored to ensure the best quality and longest freshness. Food products should be stored in proper and well-labeled containers to reduce the chance of cross contamination. Using a first-in-first-out (FIFO) system for inventory will ensure older products are used first and less waste occurs.
Proper portion control is one of the most important steps to minimizing food waste. Commercial kitchens often have scales to measure out the correct portion amount before sending meals out of the kitchen, or they use smaller plates. With proper serving portions, less food will be wasted.
Cross-contamination is one of the ways that food can become unusable during preparation. If raw meat is stored near vegetables or cooked meat in the fridge, bacteria from raw meat can get on vegetables or other foods, leading to unsafe consumption and food that must be thrown away.
Separating food storage areas and food preparation areas and using separate cutting boards and knives can help to prevent cross-contamination from occurring and lead to less waste during preparation.
Investing in high-quality kitchen equipment can impact on kitchen waste reduction. Using specialized knives, such as those for filleting fish, will result in less wasted product. These small differences can have a huge impact over time.
Ensure your food is stored at the proper temperatures. Frozen foods should be stored at 0 degrees Fahrenheit and refrigerated foods at 41 degrees Fahrenheit. Allow prepared hot foods to cool before refrigeration to prevent spoilage.
Participate in Composting
Composting is a great method of reusing food parts that are used in cooking. Any part of raw vegetables can be composted, as well as stale bread, the skin of fruits, and egg shells. With composting, any food scraps can be put off to the side and later into a compost bin that will break down the scraps and turn it into a soil that can be used for gardening or taken to a compost plant where it will also be broken down and reused.
Recycle Menu Items
Most chefs and kitchen staff are creative and strongly dislike waste. When planning your menu, plan ahead. Leftover chicken breast can be made into a fricassee or pie. Apple garnishes into an apple sauce. Or, simply, create a temporary pricing special to move the menu item quickly and before it spoils.
Identify menu items with the most leftovers and remove them from your menu. Simply changing your menu may reduce food waste and lead to higher profits.
Donate Leftover Food
Many restaurants, such as Panera Bread and the Darden Chain, donate leftover food to programs to help feed the hungry. Soup kitchens and shelters can accept food that has not expired, to be redistributed to households that need it or used to make meals in various shelters and kitchens. There are many organizations with missions to find and make connections between kitchens and shelters that can use leftover food.
Food Waste Logistics
When thinking about all the different ways your kitchen could reduce their food waste, it may seem overwhelming. Sometimes, it may not even seem worth it. It may be helpful to recruit a team of employees to volunteer for this particular program. This way, there is a group of people who are passionate about the process and can ensure wasted food in the kitchen is put good use elsewhere.
Minimizing food waste in commercial kitchens can seem daunting, especially given the pace of work, but taking control of your inventory, inspecting orders, storing products at the appropriate temperatures, using FIFO, as well as using your best judgment when planning menus, promotions, and serving portions should help to reduce kitchen spoilage. It will be difficult to eliminate waste food entirely, but composting and getting involved in humanitarian causes will keep your spoilage out of the landfill.
Once you decide to start saving food scraps for composting, you’ll need to figure out a system to transport them from your kitchen to your outdoor bin. Unless you don’t mind running out to the compost pile every time you peel a banana or make a cup of tea, you’ll need to find a vessel to store those scraps. Here are a few ideas.
If you need to store your kitchen scraps on a countertop, the aesthetics of your container is something to consider. If you want something more attractive than a plastic bucket, compost crocks may be the perfect solution for you. They’re generally made of stainless steel or ceramic and are unobtrusive on a countertop or island. More importantly, crocks usually come equipped with charcoal filters to prevent the crock’s contents from smelling up your kitchen. Crocks are not necessarily cheap—most models cost between $20 and $60.
Compost Pail or Bucket
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Mike Harrington / Getty Images
Compost pails are a good solution for those gardeners who have an area in a cabinet or pantry in which to store their kitchen scraps. Pails are a bit larger than crocks and are usually made of steel or plastic. The plastic options are, obviously, less expensive than the metal ones. Some of the metal pails incorporate filters similar to those used by compost crocks. The plastic ones prevent odors from pervading your home via air-tight lids. Prices for pails run between $10 and $50.
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Jordi Casacuberta / Getty Images
If you don’t produce a ton of kitchen waste during the day, a simple plastic or steel coffee can will work for you just fine. Be sure to save the lid, and you have a convenient kitchen scrap containment system. Coffee cans can be stored in a cabinet or the refrigerator. Storing the container in the fridge will help keep odors under control, especially if you make a point of emptying and rinsing it every day.
Reused Plastic Bucket from Detergent or Paint
If you buy laundry detergent in large bulk-sized buckets or have a five-gallon bucket left over from your last painting project, you have a perfect receptacle for your kitchen scraps. Wash the containers out, save the lids, and start adding your kitchen scraps. Because these containers are so large, you may be able to go a couple of days before you have to empty it into the compost. The only problem with this is that odors can build up in the bucket. If you have some Bokashi mix on hand, you can sprinkle some on top of the pile every time you add scraps to help control the smell.
You can store kitchen scraps in plastic bags in your refrigerator and then empty them out into your compost pile or worm bin at the end of the day. Alternately, if you’re storing up kitchen waste to start composting in the spring, you can freeze it in a plastic bag and empty the contents when you are ready to build your pile. The nice thing about this is that not only are there no odors, but the kitchen waste breaks down faster in the compost pile after having gone through the freezing and thawing process.
Finding a collection container that works for you may take some experimenting, but once you decide on a system, you’ll be well on your way to creating compost for your garden.
5 Tips for Saving Your Kitchen Time & Labor Costs in a Carry-Out-Heavy Culture
This year has brought a lot of new challenges for the food-service industry, and as COVID-19 cases fluctuate, it’s hard to know what the future will hold. We’ve put together a list of 5 simple tips to help save your kitchen resources, time and labor costs in a mandate-restrictive and carry-out heavy culture.
Tip 1: Educate your Customers
These days it is imperative that you have accurate information about your hours and offerings (carry out, delivery, dine in) on your website, social media accounts, any partnering websites (Door Dash, Uber Eats, Open Table, etc.), as well as reflected on your Google listing. Additionally, if your business is not represented on one of these online platforms, it would be beneficial to use down time to work on expanding your online presence. Furthermore, all these platforms are a good place to let your customers know what is expected of them when they are interacting with your staff and within your establishment. Is there a specific place they should go or a number they should call when picking up their order? Do you have a time limit on table seatings? What are the mask expectations and safety procedures? Are your happy hour deals applicable on to-go orders? These are all questions you can answer for your customers without having to spend time picking up the phone.
Tip 2: Stock Up on Disposables
Carry out is still a popular option with many customers. Save on shipping costs and make your ordering an easy one-stop-shop by selecting what you need from our carry out offerings. We’ve got you covered on bags, containers, plastic-ware, cups, deli sheets, napkins, gloves and more. Our products vary from plastic to foam, paper and eco-friendly fiber. Ask your sales rep for a list of all the items we carry.
Tip 3: Value-added Products & Fresh Cuts
These days staffing is kept to a minimum, and each hour and dollar counts. Save on time and labor costs by purchasing pre-cut fresh fruits and veggies. Does your menu require diced onions, spiraled squash, julienned peppers, or simply peeled potatoes? Just add them on to your order already prepped! Ask your sales rep for our Fresh Cuts catalog and browse over 120 items.
Tip 4: Heat & Serve or Plate & Serve Items
Still crunched for time? Standard sides like soups, mac and cheese, chili and pasta don’t need to be made in-house. Our line of Sandridge heat & serve items boast flavors that exceed industry standards. A local company based in Medina, Ohio, they have been in the business of fresh food manufacturing for over 50 years. Another area where you can lean on other culinary professionals is dessert. We highly recommend trying Dayton, Ohio based Killer Brownies. These decadent double-to-triple layered gourmet brownies are just what the doctor ordered! Both of these product lines help you cut down on waste and are especially convenient for socially distanced events, as well as for kitchens with limited space.
Tip 5: Grab-n-Go Single-Serve Products
Even tighter on prep time and/or kitchen space? Our grab-n-go Hearn Kirkwood line is perfect for coffee shops, cafes, markets, juice bars and more! Their prepared food items include fresh sandwiches, wraps, parfaits and other snacks, as well as deli counter salad and taco kits. Operating since 1946, everything is prepared in their in-house USDA kitchen, and distributed at the peak of freshness. Ask your sales rep how to get started with this product line today.
Overall, keeping your business afloat these days is all about self-promotion, streamlining processes, and efficient use of resources. Always keep in mind that our sales reps are only a phone call or email away and are more than willing to offer support in any way they can.
Bonus tip: Don’t forget to take advantage of the current to-go alcohol rule, allowing Ohio businesses with a liquor permit to sell up to 2 alcoholic drinks per meal for takeout or delivery. It may be worthwhile to have a weekly specialty cocktail, or even one for each day of the week, as well as some type of happy hour or BOGO deals.
Have a few extra minutes in the kitchen this weekend? After you’ve done the after-dinner clean-up, try a few of these kitchen hacks to deep clean and deodorize your sink drain, germy sponges, trash can and more. Just click on the circles on the graphic below to see each cleaning hack and then click over to the story to see how it’s done.
What you’ll need
- Cleaning gloves
- Sponge or dish towel
- Lemon essential oil
- White vinegar
- Baking soda
- Table salt
- Distilled water
- Dish soap
A BETTER Way Get more expert advice, out-of-the-box cleaning hacks and more in our Cleaning Guide
Ready to get started? Follow these steps to save time
Step 1: Grab any kitchen towels, aprons or linens and throw them in the washing machine.
Step 2: Tackle your messy microwave by using water and a few drops of essential oils to steam clean it.
Step 3: Next, zap those germy sponges. Just soak them in water, add them to a bowl and microwave for one minute.
Step 5: Tackle your trash can. When the bag’s out, use a vinegar and water solution to clean it out and then sprinkle baking soda to deodorize.
Step 6: Give your drain a sniff. Use a combination of baking soda, table salt and vinegar to freshen and deodorize your smelly sink.
Step 7: Check your kitchen window for any fingerprints or grease. Use glass cleaner or make your own with vinegar, water and essential oil.
Step 8: Master your messy fridge. Clean and wipe down drawers and shelves and then install an organizational system that will save time and money.
Step 9: Last, but not least, your coffee pot: Give your kitchen VIP the TLC it deserves by running a vinegar and water mix through the brew cycle to remove mineral buildup and help it (and you) go the distance.
Food subscription boxes aren’t news; you’ve probably heard about them by now. These boxes are designed to help you cook from fresh more often, and with more imagination – but are especially aimed at those of us (parents) who are time-poor.
When it’s dinnertime and you don’t have a clue what to cook, and you don’t want to order a takeaway, these boxes can be real lifesavers. They’ll save you time and energy, and you’ll learn loads of new recipes. Each box includes all the ingredients you need for each recipe, so you don’t need to worry about forgetting that one thing off your shopping list.
You can cancel your subscription at any time, so it’s worth signing up and trying them out without any commitments. If you haven’t tried them yet but are thinking about it, we’ve selected six of the best meal subscription boxes to try.
With free nationwide delivery, Mindful Chef gives you healthy, delicious recipe boxes, that can be personalised for one, two, or four people. Each meal costs £4, and you can choose from 16 healthy recipes weekly. All of them are gluten-free with no refined carbs. They also have frozen meals to sell at the moment, which is great if you don’t have time to cook from scratch. Mindful Chef was the first company to create a vegan meal subs box.
Gousto has a much bigger selection of recipes, with 40 to choose from each week, meaning your family won’t get bored of the same meals night after night. They also deliver every day, which is really useful. Get meals for two or four people with high-quality ingredients. The meals range from £2.98 to £6.25 per meal; it gets cheaper the more meals you order per week.
Hello Fresh has been all over social media lately, so you might have seen a video or two on YouTube about the brand. Hello Fresh’s boxes have all the good qualities excellent meal subscription boxes should have: exciting recipes, fresh ingredients, and free delivery.
Tester Sophie Knight, mum to Eli (who’s 4) and Matilda (who’s 1), said: “I received my first Hello Fresh box last week with three meals in it – I didn’t want to commit too much too soon. I can say I’m already a convert, though; and I’m really surprised, as I thought it would be a waste of money and I could do better doing the shopping myself. But actually, the price is really good and pretty on par with how much I’d spend at the supermarket. The recipes are delicious, and it’s just such a massive time saver – even if I only got this for three meals a week, it would save me so much time shopping and prepping. The food was all top-notch condition and fresh, all packaged up separately so when it comes to cooking it’s all there ready. I’m pleasantly and happily surprised at how good this is.”
Starts from £5 per meal, but depending how many meals you have per week, and for how many people, it varies and can work out at £3.44 per meal.
Pickle & Squash
Pickle & Squash is a new meal subscription box, started by a couple of mums – Laura and Alice – whose mission is “to make mealtimes fun and stress free for families with delicious and nutritionally balanced meal kits that are designed for the whole family, including weaning babies.”
The boxes cost £45 for three meals; you get one box per fortnight. This works out at £15 per meal, and each recipe makes enough for two adults and two little ones, or two adults and a baby, plus three baby portions for the freezer. At first glance it sounds costly, but when you price it out it is pretty much on par with other meal subscription boxes.
Tester Sophie Knight, mum to Eli (who’s 4) and Matilda (who’s 1), said: “Why did I like this box over others? The meals are very family friendly, without resorting to chips; the recipes are healthy and fresh, and all the ingredients are top quality. The packaging was minimal and recyclable. I really liked the additional weaning advice and ideas for getting your little ones involved with cooking; you can tell this is a family-oriented brand.The recipes I tried were: Spinach Pesto Radiatori with Tomato Bruschetta – a great win with our toddler who loved the bruschetta, and I don’t know why I’ve not tried that before; Prok Larb Lettuce Wraps with Sticky Rice; and Butternut and Cannelinni Gratin. Each was delicious and the portion sizes were great, although I did add a bit more broccoli to one and extra bread for the bruschetta.”
At the moment you can choose between Meat/Fish/Veg, Vegetarian, and Dairy Free; the recipes are fixed, unlike other subscriptions where you can choose between a selection. You can get 30% off your first box if you subscribe to the mailing list.
As the name says, these boxes make cooking very simple with easy recipes that range from 15 to 20 minutes to get ready. You can easily fit them into your day, even in the crazy days of a newborn. You can try more than 100 recipes from global cuisines, with the option for two, three, four, or more people. The only downside is that you don’t receive all the ingredients, so you still need to go to the supermarket to get some essentials.
Balance Box delivers all over the UK, and it’s a perfect option if you are trying to lose some weight. After having a baby, it can be difficult to fit in healthy eating with everything else that’s happening; Balance Box can help you enjoy healthy meals when time and energy isn’t on your side. It’s pricey, but you get all your meals for the day, including breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks. All the meals are already cooked and delivered fresh at your doorstep.
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Almost every recipe uses some kind of cooking oil. Are you storing your cooking oils in the right place? Correct storage will help keep your oils fresh.
How to Store Cooking Oils
Oils are an important part of many recipes. They can make things taste very delicious… but when oils go bad they can make your recipes taste awful. It’s important to store all your cooking oils the right way so they can stay fresh as long as possible.
Do Cooking Oils Go Bad?
Yep, they sure can! You won’t see mold or anything weird growing in your oils, but they can go bad just the same. As oils age, they can go rancid. Rancid oils smell bad and taste bad, and shouldn’t be used in any recipe.
How Do I Tell If My Oils Are Bad?
Before you use any cooking oil, give it a smell. Most cooking oils have no smell, or a very light smell. If the oil is starting to smell “off” (maybe like crayons, bad peanuts, metallic, or even used motor oil), it’s time to toss it.
You might also notice that the oil feels a little “greasy.” Yes, all oils feel slick and oily, but as oils start to go rancid, the oil gets a little thicker and feels more greasy than oily.
If there is a residue on the outside of the bottle, either near the bottle’s opening or around the label, the oil is definitely past its prime. It’s time to throw it away.
Store Some Kitchen Oils in the Pantry
In general, most of the oils you’ll cook with on a regular basis can (and should) be stored in the pantry. These are some of the oils that can be stored at room temperature:
All these oils should be stored in a cool, dry place, out of direct sunlight. Warm temperatures, humidity, and sunlight can break the oils down and make them go rancid faster. Cabinets near your stove or dishwasher aren’t great places to store cooking oils (even though it might be convenient), because of the changes in temperature in those areas.
Coconut oil will be a solid, even at room temperature. Don’t worry about that. Just measure it with a scoop, like you would measure other solid or dry ingredients. As it heats, it will liquify.
Store Some Cooking Oils in the Refrigerator
Some oils are a little more delicate, and need to be kept in the refrigerator to stay fresh. These are some of the oils that should be stored in the refrigerator:
Any oils can be stored in the refrigerator, but the three listed above definitely should be stored in the refrigerator. In the refrigerator, these oils might become cloudy or thick. This doesn’t mean the oils are bad, it just means they are chilled. Let the oil sit at room temperature for about 30 minutes, and the oil should be clear and smooth again.
Some oils, like olive oil, will solidify in the refrigerator. This isn’t a bad thing, just leave the oil to sit at room temperature for about 30 minutes to warm up before you use it.
How Long Can I Keep Cooking Oil?
Look at the “use by” or “best by” dates on your packaging. Those dates will give you a good idea of how long your oils should stay fresh, when stored correctly (cool, dry place, out of direct sunlight). Most oils will last for about 1 year after you open them, again, when stored correctly.
Sesame and walnut oil will often start to go rancid within about 6 months.
Use a Sharpie to label the bottles when you open them. Then you’ll know for sure how long the oil has been open in your pantry. No more guessing, and no more sniff test!
Free Printable for What’s In My Pantry?
Keep track of all your cooking oils so you can use them up before they go rancid. Grab your free printable pantry inventory sheet and always know what’s are hiding in the back of your cupboards.
It’s easy to stroll in the kitchen on any given morning and whip up some buttered toast. Or, if you’re feeling like a chef, you might even cook some eggs and bacon to go with it. Plenty of once-difficult breakfast dishes have become more attainable through the years. Shake-and-pour pancake mix helps you get fluffy pancakes with hardly any effort, while pre-cooked bacon means just popping it in the microwave to get that extra crisp without all of the grease.
However, eggs Benedict is one dish that many breakfast lovers order out — it was even purportedly invented at the restaurant Delmonico’s, per Atlas Obscura — yet they may not even touch it when it comes to preparing the meal in their own kitchen. But what if there were a way to get that perfectly poached egg and creamy hollandaise sauce without actually having to take the traditional, time-consuming steps required? It turns out that with one easy trick, it isn’t nearly as hard as you thought.
Try this hollandaise hack next time you make eggs Benedict
Though traditional hollandaise is made with lemon juice, butter, and egg yolks, plenty of amateurs and professionals alike have changed the methods and ingredients through the years. For example, Gordon Ramsay’s hollandaise sauce recipe with a twist uses elements such as avocado and tarragon. While some have added to the sauce, others have found ways to reduce its difficulty.
According to Serious Eats, gone are the days of vigorously whisking your egg yolks in a double boiler while simultaneously making sure to add the perfect amount of butter and lemon juice. Rather, you can actually make this mouthwatering sauce with just a hand blender. It’s simple: Add the lemon juice and egg yolks to a cup or deep bowl (one that a hand blender won’t damage). Then, blend the ingredients while also slowly adding the butter. Serious Eats says the method only takes about two minutes total, and voila. You’ve just made your eggs Benedict process that much easier.
Keep them fresh for over a month with these simple storage tips.
Photo by: Anfisa Kameneva / EyeEm / Getty Images
Anfisa Kameneva / EyeEm / Getty Images
By Amanda Neal for Food Network Kitchen
Onions are a key ingredient in many recipes, so it makes sense to keep some on hand at all times. But though they last for a long while, they don’t store forever — have you ever reached into the bag and noticed that a few of your onions have gotten soft and moldy or have started to sprout? With a few simple storage solutions, you can extend the life of those beloved bulbs for up to 2 months.
The Right Conditions
Whether you have red onions, Vidalia onions, Spanish onions or even shallots, they’re best stored whole. Their papery exterior serves as natural protection from outside elements. Whole onions should be stored at room temperature in a well-ventilated container, such as a wire basket, perforated plastic sack or open paper bag. Any moisture that gets trapped around the onions will promote early spoilage, so good air circulation is key, as is removing thm from plastic produce bags, if you use those to gather them at the store. Place the container in a dry, dark spot, like in the back of your pantry or inside a cabinet. Sunlight can affect temperature and humidity, causing onions to go bad. Properly stored whole onions will stay fresh for 6 to 8 weeks.
If you’ve already peeled an onion or have leftover pieces you’d like to save, wrap tightly in plastic wrap or store in an airtight container and refrigerate for up to 1 week. Keeping peeled onions tightly sealed will not only keep them fresher, it will also prevent other refrigerated items from absorbing any odors from this pungent ingredient.
How to Use Up Onions
Onions can be enjoyed both raw and cooked. When serving them raw, try soaking diced or sliced onions in a bowl of ice water for 10 minutes, then drain well and pat dry with paper towels. The cold water will mellow that strong, raw-onion flavor.
If you have an abundance of onions on hand, try caramelizing them! When cooked very slowly over low heat, onions become amazingly tender and sweet, and will keep for up to 5 days in the refrigerator or frozen for up to 2 months. Used caramelized onions as the base of a soup, piled onto a grilled cheese, or stirred into a creamy dip, such as this Caramelized Onion Dip.
Here are some of our favorite onion-forward recipes:
Bitter Melon which is also known as Bitter Gourd or Karela is a fruit that has a distinct warty exterior and an oblong shape.
It gets its name from its very bitter taste but its widely consumed because of its many health benefits.
But sadly Bitter Melon is also very perishable this is due to its high moisture content which leads to rapid biochemical changes resulting in yellowing and spoilage.
So in this article, we will guide you on how to properly store the bitter melon fruit and the leaves from the bitter melon plants.
How to Store Bitter Melon for a Short term
- First, you need to wash the fresh bitter melon under cool water and then let it drip dry until there is no more water on the skin.
- Next, place the bitter melons in a zip-type storage bag and place it in the crisper of your refrigerator as soon as they are dry.
The bitter melon can then be stored in the fruit bin of the refrigerator for four to five days.
Bitter Melon is very sensitive to cold and should not be stored below 50 degrees F. You need to store bitter melon away from apples, pears, potatoes, and other fruits and vegetables that produce ethylene gas since it will cause the fruit to continue to ripen and become more bitter.
How to Freeze & Store Bitter Melon for a Long Time
Freezing slices of bitter melon is an easy way to store it for a long time if you are not planning to cook it, in the near future. And when you are ready to use it, just defrost it by placing it in the refrigerator.
- First, you need to wash and then dry the bitter melon completely.
- Next, cut the stem and bloom off the fruit.
- Bitter melon does not need to be peeled if you are planning to slice it thinly.
- Now you can slice the bitter melon lengthwise.
- Next, remove the seeds and scrape out the yellow pulpy material (pith) inside.
- Then thinly slice the melon into strips.
- And place the strips of the fruit into Vacuum Freezer bags and close tightly.
- Use a vacuum sealer pump to get rid of any excess air that will cause the bitter gourd to develop freezer burn.
- And if you don’t have a vacuum sealer pump you can skip this step, but try and get out as much excess air as possible.
- Also if you don’t have vacuum bags, you can use regular freezer bags.
- You can see how it’s done in the video below
For this method to work effectively, you would need a good vacuum sealer, I recommend using a handheld one, they are very affordable yet effective. You can click here to see the price on Amazon for the one that I use.
How Long Can Bitter Melon Last when Frozen
Frozen bitter melon can last three months in the freezer once stored properly.
How to Freeze & Store Bitter Melon leaves
The young shoots and leaves of the bitter melon may also be eaten as greens like spinach and also boiled to make a bitter tea.
While they are less popular than the fruit, the leaves are equally as nutritious as the fruit. However, just like the fruit, the leaves are extremely potent and bitter, so a little goes a long way.
And it is extremely easy to freeze the leaves to use another time.
- Firstly, remove the stems from the leaves with a pair of kitchen scissors.
- Next, rinse the leaves thoroughly with water.
- Then blanch the leaves by bringing a pot of water to a boil.
- Put the bitter gourd leaves into the pot for one minute.
- Next, remove the leaves from the water and immediately place them in an ice bath which halts the cooking process.
- And leave them there for two minutes.
- Dry the leaves by laying them on a kitchen towel while blotting them with paper towels.
- Place the leaves in a freezer bag. Remove as much air from it as possible before sealing it.
- Label the bag with the date that the leaves were frozen and place it in the freezer.
How to Properly Choose Bitter Melon or Karela
Another tip to ensure that your bitter melon can last a long time is to select good quality melons when shopping. You need to:
- Select bitter gourds that are free from dents and bruises.
- Try to get bitter melons that are thick and nice.
- Go for those that are greenish-yellow in color as they will not be too bitter
- Pick those that are half ripe as they taste better.
- When the bitter gourd ripens and matures, it will turn reddish-orange color, and the seeds will become bright orange. The more mature the bitter gourd, the more bitter it is.
- Avoid those that are soft, show signs of mold and rot.
- The grooves on the bitter gourd should be far apart which means that these bitter gourds will not be too bitter as compared to those that are narrow and dark green in color
How to Remove the Bitterness from Bitter Gourd
You can’t completely remove all the bitterness of Bitter gourd but you can tone down the intensity of the bitterness by extracting some of the juices.
Wash the bitter gourd and remove all the seeds and pith. The seeds are also extremely bitter and add to the intensity of the bitterness.
Slice the bitter gourd and sprinkle some salt over the slice.
Let it sit for 20 to 30 minutes, by which time the salt draws out a lot of the moisture from the pieces and the bitter flavors along with it.
Give a gentle squeeze to extract the juices.
Wash it under running water and squeeze again for better results.
Health Benefit of Bitter Gourd/Melon (Karela)
- Bitter melon is a good source of nutrients like fiber, vitamin C, Folate, and vitamin A.
- Consuming karela can help you get rid of acne, blemishes, and skin infections and gives you a healthy and glowing skin.
- Some studies have shown that bitter melon has been shown to improve several markers of long-term blood sugar control.
- Test-tube studies show that bitter melon may have cancer-fighting properties and could be effective against stomach, colon, lung, nasopharynx, and breast cancer cells.
- The antimicrobial and antioxidant properties present in karela juice helps in treating skin problems, blood disorders, purifying and removing toxins from the blood.
- Animal studies show that bitter melon extract may decrease cholesterol levels, which could help support heart health.
- Bitter melon is low in calories but high in fiber.
- Bitter melon has a sharp flavor that works well in many dishes.
While Bitter Melon can be eaten raw, it is best enjoyed while cooked in some form, you can make it into a curry or, add it to stir-fries, blend it to make juices and you can even pickle it to use as a relish or snack
Whether you’re making Ginger-Ale Can Chicken for dinner, fixing German Chocolate Pancakes for breakfast, or whipping up a batch of Mint-Julep Cupcakes for your Kentucky Derby party, making a mess in the kitchen is always fun. Cleaning up after the cooking. not so much. Similarly, you may have noticed that it’s easy to load the dishwasher with all those dirty dishes you just made, but unloading it is a lesson in patience. There’s nothing quite as low-key annoying as trying to figure out why all the drinking glasses don’t fit in the cupboard, where the lid to that pot got off to after dinner, and separating salad forks from dinner forks.
Well, we have a little tip that can cut down on some of that aggravation: When you’re loading the dishwasher, take a second to put the silverware in separate sections of the silverware basket. It’s easy to rinse and sort utensils into their own sections in the dishwasher’s silverware holder, while you’re loading the dishwasher. As you work, take a second to put dessert forks in one section, dinner forks in a separate one, knives and spoons in their own spots, and cooking utensils in another. If you really want to make clean-up easier for your future self, place all the silverware either facing up or facing down.
WATCH: How To Clean The House In One Weekend
Then, when it comes to putting the silverware away, there’s no need to sort, as the work is already done. Instead, simply pluck a handful of salad forks from the dishwasher and deposit them in the drawer where they belong. It’s an easy solution to one of life’s minor annoyances. Plus, spending less time in the kitchen cleaning—and more time baking— is always a good thing.
Revive less-than-fresh loaves with this cool trick.
Traditional breakfast. Bread (sliced baguette) on cutting board with butter on plate on dark wooden background. (Traditional breakfast. Bread (sliced baguette) on cutting board with butter on plate on dark wooden background., ASCII, 112 components, 11
Photo by: Yulia Naumenko / Getty Images
Yulia Naumenko / Getty Images
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By Regan Cafiso for Food Network Kitchen
Fresh, crusty bread is one of life’s greatest pleasures. But its shelf-life is fleeting. Even when stored properly, bakery-style loaves like peasant bread, sourdough and baguettes last only a few days at room temperature before going stale and rock-hard. But we’ve got a fix. If your loaf hardens, follow these simple steps to make it as good as new.
Why Does Bread Go Stale?
Bread gets hard and stale when it dries out, but there’s a little more to it than that — a loaf can go stale even in humid conditions. So what gives? “Staling” is a natural process that occurs when the water and starch molecules that were made spongy during baking begin to rearrange themselves once the bread has cooled. The water moves out of the loaf’s interior, migrating towards the crust and eventually into the air. The starches re-harden and then, poof! Rock-hard bread. Colder temperatures hasten this process, which is why you should never store bread in the fridge. (Freezing, however, is another story — we’ll get to that later!)
How to Revive Stale Bread
Of course there are plenty of delicious things to make with a loaf of stale bread: French toast, croutons, breadcrumbs and bread pudding are just a few of them. But sometimes you just want a nice slice. We polled our culinary staffers and they overwhelmingly chose this method to restore bread to its original soft, crusty glory.
- Begin by heating the oven to 300 degrees F. (A lower temperature allows you to rehydrate the loaf slowly instead of drying it further.)
- Take your whole loaf or partial loaf and run it quickly under running water just to wet the outside. If it has been cut, turn the cut-end downward to avoid saturating the interior (but don’t worry if it gets a little wet inside).
- Place the loaf on a baking sheet and heat until it is dry and crusty on the outside — 6 to 10 minutes, depending on its size and wetness.
Keep in mind that this method is intended for whole and partial loaves — not for ones pre-cut into slices. If the bread is pre-sliced, you’re better off making a recipe that uses stale bread. If the bread is moldy, it cannot be saved and should be thrown away.
Preventing Staleness in the First Place
All bread will eventually go stale, but this sad fate can be slowed or halted with proper storage. If you plan to eat your bread within a few days, be sure to wrap it tightly in plastic wrap and store it at room temperature. If you have extra loaves that you’d like to make last, freeze them. Wrap each tightly in two layers of plastic wrap, seal in a freezer bag and stash in the freezer for up to 3 months.
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Not sure how to freeze okra? No worries, I’ve got you covered! Freezing okra for use later is a quick and easy way to keep this veggie on hand in the kitchen well past those hot summer months that okra loves so much! And this method of putting up okra in the freezer comes without the hot water blanching. Check it out!
How to Freeze Fresh Okra
Okra, the jewel of the southern garden, can get a bad rap for being… well, slimy. You’ll find that most people are either okra lovers or haters, and thankfully most of my family is in the lover category. (Particularly if said vegetable is fried, ahem.) If you’ve ever grown okra in the garden, then you know that once it starts coming in, it can be difficult to eat it all.
Once you begin to harvest okra (check out my post here on when to harvest) you have a few days to use it before it starts turning brown and soft in spots. Learning how to freeze okra for use later is easy as pie thanks to my granny.
Granny imparted her okra-preserving wisdom on me for this “recipe.” She doesn’t keep track of oven temperatures or how many minutes it should be in there, so there was a bit of testing on my end. But the result was non-slimy okra ready to go in the freezer in 15 minutes from start to finish. Voila! So if you’re having a busy week, and unable to cook okra before it goes bad, here’s an easy way to know how to freeze okra for use later.
Can you freeze okra without cooking it?
The short answer is yes, but I would advise against it. The process of baking (or blanching if you want to go that route) helps break down enzymes in the okra. Breaking these down helps preserve the flavor and texture of the okra itself. So though it’s an extra step, I highly recommend it!
Instructions for Freezing Okra
- Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Wash your tender okra pods in cool water and drain in a colander. Once relatively dry, move them to a cutting board, and decide how you’d like to cut them.
- Cut okra and place on rimmed baking sheet. I like to cut mine into 1/2 inch pieces for easy use in smoothies and soups. (If you’ve never had frozen okra in a smoothie, you’re totally missing out. The Trim Healthy Mama book introduced me to this.)
- Place baking sheet in preheated oven for 3-4 minutes. You just want the okra pieces warmed through, not cooked.
- Remove the pan from the oven and allow to cool for a few minutes. The moisture that was on the okra has dried a bit after the short time in the oven, and once cool, they are ready for the freezer.
- Place cooled okra in labeled freezer bags, and use throughout the fall and winter as needed!
Okra Freezing Options:
- If you prefer fried okra (or “oven fried”) then you can go ahead and coat your cooled okra in cornmeal before putting it in the freezer bags.
- For freezing okra whole, cut off the tops and warm the pods in the oven. Then freeze as usual.
These freezing instructions are great for those growing okra in your home gardens. But it also is perfect if you happen to grab some fresh okra from your local farmer’s market. Fresh is fresh, and buying local veggies in season is always better than shipped-from-who-knows-where out of season. So buy up (or pick) that okra now and “put it up” (as we southerners say) for use later.
How long does it take to cook frozen okra?
There really isn’t much difference in the time it takes to cook frozen okra versus fresh. A few more minutes in the oven or in the pot/skillet should do the trick. For my oven roasted okra recipe, I would add just a few minutes, or until the edges begin to brown.
I’d love to know what your favorite okra dish is. Comment below and let me know, because I’m always looking for news ways to use this super vegetable!